Courtesy Dominique Moceanu
  • Dominique Moceanu Slideshow

    Dominique Moceanu was the youngest member of the celebrated "Magnificent 7" gymnasts who won the team gold at the 1996 Olympic Games. Moceanu discusses her troubled family life -- and a shocking discovery later in life -- in a new memoir. <a href="http://abc.go.com/watch/2020/SH559026/VD55209795/2020-608-the-big-lie"><b>WATCH THE FULL STORY ON "20/20" NOW</b> </a>
    Courtesy Dominique Moceanu
  • Dominique Moceanu Slideshow

    Dominique Moceanu was born on Sept. 30, 1981, in Hollywood. When Moceanu was 3, her parents, Romanian immigrants, enrolled her in a gymnastics class. By the age of nine, she was being called a possible future star. "That somebody wanted to call me an Olympic hopeful … really planted that seed in my heart to become a champion," Moceanu told "20/20." WATCH THE FULL STORY ON "20/20" FRIDAY AT 10 P.M.
    Courtesy Dominique Moceanu
  • Dominique Moceanu Slideshow

    When Moceanu was 10, her family moved to Houston so she could train with the legendary Romanian coach, Bela Karolyi, who coached the famed gymnasts, Nadia Comaneci and Mary Lou Retton. Seven months after joining Karolyi's team, Moceanu became the youngest member of the U.S. Junior National Team ever. In 1995, at 13, she became the youngest gymnast ever to win the U.S. National Championships.
    Courtesy Dave Black
  • Dominique Moceanu Slideshow

    Leading up to the 1996 summer Olympics in Atlanta, Moceanu injured her leg, which hurt her performance. She fell during both of her vault competitions. Although she did not win an individual medal, her flawless floor exercise and balance beam routines helped lead the U.S. women's gymnastics team – which came to be called the Magnificent Seven -- to its first team gold medal ever.
    Eric Fererberg/AFP/Getty Images
  • Dominique Moceanu Slideshow

    "I was happy we won the gold," said Moceanu, "but I was sad inside." Moceanu said her father, Dimitry Moceanu, seemed more concerned with her individual performance than the gold medal. Karolyi told "20/20" Moceanu's individual results "disappointed her and disappointed me."
    John Mottern/AFP/Getty Images
  • Dominique Moceanu Slideshow

    Moceanu said her parents, particularly her father, handled her finances -- including national-team stipends and post-Olympics endorsement and appearance fees -- keeping her in the dark. "[T]hey didn't know that maybe I wanted to put that aside for my college education or my future," Moceanu said. "I didn't even know that my NCAA eligibility was stripped out from me from taking that stipend."
    Courtesy Eileen Langsley
  • Dominique Moceanu Slideshow

    In 1997, Dimitry Moceanu built Moceanu Gymnastics, a 70,000-square-foot gym outside Houston, with Dominique's earnings. "My dad built the Taj Mahal of gymnastics, it was dubbed," Moceanu said. "He really just wanted to have the biggest and best gym for his daughter." She said she was not against the idea but thought her father could have started a little smaller.
    William Snyder/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
  • Dominique Moceanu Slideshow

    Moceanu said that, in 1998, she grew weary of pressing her father for answers about her finances. She was 17 and the family's primary breadwinner, but her father still treated her like a child, she said. Moceanu hired a lawyer to emancipate her from her parents, accusing her father of squandering her money.
    AP Photo
  • Dominique Moceanu Slideshow

    Through court proceedings, Moceanu learned that her father had burned through $1 million of her earnings, mostly to build Moceanu Gymnastics. Moceanu said her emancipation, while painful, was necessary to gain control of not just her money but her life. It also allowed her to escape the rigorous pressures of training and to get back to approaching gymnastics in a healthy way, she said.
    Courtesy Dominique Moceanu
  • Dominique Moceanu Slideshow

    Moceanu trained with a new coach and competed in various competitions. She eventually reconciled with her parents. (Her father has since passed away.) In 1998, she reconnected with Michael Canales, a former Ohio State gymnast studying to be a doctor. Moceanu said she was clueless about romance but knew she wanted to stay in touch with Canales.
    Courtesy Dominique Moceanu
  • Dominique Moceanu Slideshow

    On Nov. 4, 2006, Moceanu and Dr. Michael Canales were married. "Who would have thought that the boy I bumped into in the hospitality room at the 1994 U.S. Nationals would end up being the man I'd marry?" asked Moceanu. "It was the start of what would evolve into a long yet persistent love story."
    Courtesy J. Christopher Chisum
  • Dominique Moceanu's Journey in Photos

    Dominique Moceanu became pregnant with her first child in 2007.
    Jennifer Parris/Celebrity Parents Magazine
  • Dominique Moceanu Slideshow

    Moceanu gave birth to their first child, Carmen Noel, on Christmas Day 2007. Their second child, Vincent Michael, arrived on March 13, 2009.
    Courtesy Dominique Moceanu
  • Dominique Moceanu Slideshow

    In May 2009, Moceanu earned a degree in business management from John Carroll University.
    Courtesy Dominique Moceanu
  • Dominique Moceanu Slideshow

    Now, Moceanu's life is free of drama, control issues and secrecy -- almost. "I ... grab this letter, and I didn't recognize the name, but I thought, 'Who could be writing me a letter at my home?' Most of my fan mail came to the gym," Moceanu said. "Then I said, 'OK, there's a letter in here, let me read the letter.'" Watch "20/20" Friday at 10 p.m. to see how the letter changed her world.
    Courtesy Robert Chapman
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